Author has written 4 stories for Pride and Prejudice.
I thought I would drop a line and update you as to my status.
For those of you following me, I was a mess back in 2015. Within three months, I had found out my husband was cheating, moved into my own apartment with my daughter, lost my house, my mom died and somehow through it all I made it through. I reconnected with an ex-boyfriend I had dated before I went to college in 1990 and I thought God had intended him for me. We were both going through a divorce, both felt vulnerable and unwanted. He gave me strength and made me happy.
We were happy, I believed. Until in December of 2018, he fell off the wagon. What followed were nearly 2 and a half years of heartbreak. He fell off the wagon - started drinking, then doing drugs and then womanizing. I found myself participating in this crazy cycle of unhealthy madness of on again, off again which mirrored his failed attempts at sobriety. I have been, I am embarrassed to admit, mad at God. I stopped going to church. I stopped praying. I feel worse about myself than I had in my entire life - and I suffer from low self-esteem issues already :( Add in COVID-19 stress and it is easy to say I was a spiraling mess of depression.
There were some HUGE developments in the last 12 months that I am proud of - my daughter graduated in May 2020 from high school and after a gap year of being isolated (she has a respiratory issue) and becoming a PlayStation Goddess, she is talking about getting a job, her driver's license and going to college. In June of 2020, I also left the job I love - where I worked for 18 years and worked a minimum of 80 hours a week. Unhappy and frustrated with my horrible personal life, I submitted my resume for MY DREAM job with another organization. Normally it takes months of rounds of interviews and reference checks, etc, but within 3 hours of the interview, I was offered the position. It was a struggle since I loved where I worked. But, this was the job I always aspired to attain - this was what I whispered to myself at night I wanted but I never fully believed I would ever be able to fly so high. Moving to the new company was stressful - but a blessing. I absolutely LOVE what I do. It truly is a wonderful thing when you get up for work everyday and you look forward to going into work. And, I feel like I've come home in this new role. The problem, if you can call it that, is that now I have all this time free time to think. The first year or so, I have been consumed with working on fixing deficiencies but those issues have all be resolved. The organizational structure was shifted to a more efficient one and the research I am required to do to bring myself up to speed, while still necessary at times, is no longer a full time aspect of my functions. Since February - and with the restrictions on COVID-19 lifting - it is this free time that feels like quicksand. I don't know what to do with myself. Come on, there is only so much Netflix a person can watch. And, then there is the matter of my health. After losing 70 lbs since in 2015 and maintaining that weight loss, I gained thirty back due to COVID-19 and let my diet go to crap. I was self-medicating my depression with food. Raise your hand if you've done that?
How could the terrible consecutive chain of events of 2015 not do me in, but the last 30 months bring me so low? I have finally embraced that I am the victim of domestic violence. Which, for someone like me is hard to admit. I was raised to be a self reliant and strong person and for some reason admitting to being a victim is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It is irrational, I know, but I see being a victim as being weak. I hate weakness in myself, but make allowances for perceived weaknesses in others all the time. In April 2020, after dealing with eight months of dealing with should pain that interrupted my sleep, I went to the doctor and was informed I was living with a broken clavicle, bone spurs and a torn rotator cuff. I lied to my doctor and told him I didn't know how it happened, but it was all courtesy of the ex-boyfriend who during one of our "on again" sessions had grabbed me by my arm. He hadn't meant to hurt me - I excused to myself. After every terrible and increasingly horrible thing he has put me through, I was still making apologies for him. After each of his escalating bad choices, he blamed me. In these two and half years, and all of the things he has stolen from me, the worst is the loss of my self-respect. I have cursed God on more than one occasion for putting me through this infernal cycle of torture.
How could someone like me - who had it together professionally - keep participating in this madness? It was, after a lengthy introspection, God's fault. All the tears I'd cried. All the anguish - it was not a summation of my bad decisions. Nope. It was HIM. He wanted to torture me. I quit going to church. Quit going to the gym. I went to work, came home, obsessed over missed calls and being stood up, bartered my self-respect away with every bad decision, gave selfless love to a selfish, horribly evil man. He is evil. I will never believe otherwise.
So rock bottom and I met finally last month. I realized I was in a dark, isolated place. While I'd like to think I'd never hurt myself because it would kill my daughter and those that love me, but I will not lie -- at the lowest point, I considered harming myself for longer than I am comfortable being honest about. So, I'm struggling. I'm floundering and kicking and fighting - The struggle is real you all! I have always considered myself to be a good person - I've never done drugs, never smoked, never cheated on anyone. I was raised to leave more than you take from the world.
I have started seeing counselors - a domestic violence one and an behavioral therapist - both group and individual. I am learning that I have the "need to be needed" syndrome. After being on this planet for nearly fifty years, I don't know what I want in a partner. It is a bad sign when your list of ideal traits in a partner begin with - does not do drugs, does not cheat, does not lie, does not smoke, etc - and evidentially that is not normal. Who knew?
I have found a new church. The sermons the last few weeks have really spoken to me. Its a message about transition. Change. God doesn't hate me. I realized that the responsibility for the hell that has been my life the last thirty months lies with me. My pain and suffering all came from my resistance to letting go of someone not good for me. Instead of cursing God for putting me through the things I have - I need to change my perspective. I need to thank him for keeping me safe from such a violent, irresponsible man. I need to praise him for giving me such an amazing and loving daughter. For sheltering me and my daughter from COVID-19 and for providing me the professional opportunity that will allow me to pay for my daughter's college next fall. Yes, sacrifices will need to be made, but we can eek by financially.
In the last six weeks, I have lost 14 lbs (only 50 more to go!) I am back to watching what I eat and not skipping meals. My shoulder is still sore but the surgery was successful and PT is going well. Last night, I was able to sleep on my right side for the first time in nearly a year and I slept an entire 6 hour stretch without waking up one time. My mind, like anyone who has been caught in a DV cycle, sometimes wonders back to him, how is he? What is he doing? Who is he with? But, I beg God to give me strength and provide me a healthy distractions. And, one always materializes. I have begun writing again. Begun reading self-help books. But, most of all, I am only doing things that make me happy. Next week, I plan to return to the gym. I am hopeful it won't hurt - a torn rotator cuff is painful! But, everything is small steps. Small successes. I am determined to love myself regardless of what the scale says. I am determined to love myself with the fervor I have loved others. I am determined to help my daughter, who has to lose over a 100lbs herself, get healthy. I think the hardest part of this is acknowledging that I have disappointed her by permitting the repeated disrespect and mistreatment. I've given her such poor examples of what a healthy relationship looks like.
Last night, as I was making dinner for her, she hugged me. She said she wanted me to know that she appreciated everything I have done for her and she is proud of me. She said she knows how hard I work to make her life easier. She has it so much better than her friends and that she hopes one day that I can be happy. Truly happy because I deserve it.
After she went to bed, I stayed up and posted for the first time in years. I may not be the best author in the world, but writing is very therapeutic for me. I have more ideas than I can capture with my typing. More stories popping around in my brain. It feels good to sit down and create. It was freedom to pour out pain onto paper. One day at a time, like Jane says in one of my stories. One Day at a time.
Please pray for me. Pray alongside me. And, I will pray for you.